Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Reticulation Silver Experimentation

Carol Dekle-Foss
Rain has finally come to California. Hallelujah! The weather has been BEAUTIFUL. The rain has been coming down is soft sheets, and it's comforting knowing it's filling the empty lakes and reservoirs. I made a visual for you guys, so you can see just how bad the drought was. Look for the arrows showing a rock as a landmark. This is a park near my house that has a walking path along the South Fork American River. This river is one of the major rivers in California and flows from Lake Tahoe.
We are on the right path to putting a big dent in this drought. Thank god! It was heartbreaking watching its effects on the landscape and animals.

Okay, on to jewelry making! I wanted to give reticulation silver a try because I just LOVE the look. 

The texture reminds me of ridges and valleys of the earth's landscape. So beautiful! 

 I bought this 3" x 1.5" piece from Rio. It cost me about $3.80 per square inch. Not too bad considering sterling silver sheet in the same gauge is about $3.50 per square inch right now. They have another type called Crinkle silver. The texture is smaller, and it looks amazing, but it's so expensive! I guess it all depends on what you are making and how much you are willing to charge.

It's simple and fun to do. Here are some instructions from Rio on how it's done and what you will need. 
I only used half of the piece I purchased. It didn't shrink all that much like I thought it would, so you still get almost the same size metal to work with after its reticulated.

Here's a close up video of me doing the reticulation. I sped it up so it's less than a minute and plays one of my all time favorite songs by Katie Melua. Pretty cool watching the silver follow the torch flame! 

So yesterday, while I was getting ready to try reticulation for the first time, a video came through on my Youtube feed from Nancy T Hamilton. The title was "Fusing Silver and Reticulation on Copper". I thought, what perfect timing! I tried the reticulation on copper part so I could show you guys the results and do a mini comparison! 
I cut a piece of 20 gauge copper about 1.5" square and added little scraps of sterling silver. I also had to use a larger tip on my torch to get the silver to melt. Below is a short, less than a minute video of the melting process!

Here's how it turned out.
VERY cool texture. Its more wavy , sorta looks like tree branches to me. Here's a side by side comparison.
You can really see the difference in color. Also the one with the copper backplate has a bunch of teeny pitted holes. I think next time I will flux the backplate to see if that will help. Still, not a bad texture for metal that's already lying around the studio!

I've yet to create jewelry with these beauties because I've been busy opening a brand new Etsy shop for our ceramic pieces! 
I'm offering a 25% off discount through the end of January. Just use coupon code winter25. Etsy has a 'bug' right now, so my shop isn't offering Paypal as a payment option as of yet. If you would like to pay that way, all products are on my website, and the same discount code will apply.

Thank you for reading!


Patti Vanderbloemen said...

Awesome post Carol! I purchased two small sheets of reticulting silver a bit's on my list of things to try. but, really love the fused silver on copper!! Congrats on your etsy shop...wishing you much success!

mairedodd said...

that's so funny, as i was reading i was going to write about fusing sterling to copper. i've been doing that for years and you get wonderful texture. you just need to seal your copper on the back so people's skin doesn't turn green!
your pieces are beautiful.

stacilouise said...

Did you use sterling or fine silver to fuse to the copper?

Carol Dekle said...

Thank you Patti! We like having a place to try and sell all our beads that we have been making! Try reticulation! It's actually pretty fun.

I like the texture a lot too Maire, I will remember to seal the back for sure!

I was wondering too Staci, if fine silver would be better. I used sterling. I wonder if it would give more of a silver look, or if the oxide from the copper would still tarnish the finished look. Worth a try!

Michelle Cook said...

can you do the reticulating technique with copper on copper also??????

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